The SwitchBack Project

SwitchBack is a prototype reading environment that supports selective reading by (1) providing both brief and detailed versions of each section of a document and (2) interposing prerequisite information when readers need it. For example, as shown below, when a reader reads the brief (Lite) version of Section 1 and then switches to the detailed (Study) version of Section 2, SwitchBack interposes the key information the reader missed by not reading the detailed version of Section 1.

Screen capture of a SwitchBack document

You can try out a working version of this SwitchBack document. You can also read this overview of SwitchBack.

The SwitchBack Research Group

SwitchBack was developed by the SwitchBack Research Group (2009-2010) in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington. The Research Group was directed by Professor David K. Farkas. SwitchBack’s PHP script was written by Chris Raleigh.

Here are the members of the SwitchBack Research Group:

Karina Allen James Humphrey
Silvia Amtmann Chris Raleigh
Shalina Bajracharya Alex Pham
Pallavi Damera Priya Rao
Eldridge Harding Pausali Sen
William Ho  


Back to David K. Farkas University of Washington Web pages